Scoring records broken as Stones complete double over champions
Maidstone United completed an end-of-season double victory over champions Cray Wanderers in a game that will be best remembered for two individual goalscoring records that were achieved on the night, writes Jerry Dowlen.
Stones' leading marksman Richard Sinden netted the goal that he needed to win the Kent League "Golden Boot" for 2003-04. He started the game on the 24 mark, level with Jon Main (VCD Athletic ) and Sam Prett (Whitstable Town) but his 45th minute goal put him jubilantly top of the chart, with 25 to his name.
Cray's player-manager Ian Jenkins, aware that he already held a club record of scoring for the Wands for eleven consecutive years, came on as substitute late in the game, seeking to extend his record to twelve years. You might not believe in fairy tales, but there was surely one to be seen at Hayes Lane when Jenkins amazingly did grab a goal in the 89th minute and he did add an extra year to his record.
Two other points for the statisticians to note were that Stones have done the double over the top three teams in the table this season but frustratingly have only finished fourth, and that the Wands have scored in every Kent League game this season, a feat they have never achieved before.
As for the game itself, the Wands were punished for leaving Steve Hogg completely unmarked on the right wing after 5 minutes, and he ran on to thump the ball past Micky Simmons.
The home defence was wide open again in the 8th minute and Jason Barton almost apologetically popped the ball home to put the Stones two up.
Looking shell-shocked, Cray began to pull themselves together and to chase and harry, and eventually Stones' 'keeper Kevin Hudson was given some work to do.
Other than a close-in flick header by Ricky Bennett that went just too high, Cray did not really threaten, and another defensive lapse gave Sinden his opportunity to put Maidstone three goals ahead with a flourish in the 45th minute.
In the second half it was either that Cray raised their game or Maidstone sat back, or a bit of both, but the pattern of play was largely Cray building neat pass-and-run moves but never getting past the deep-defending Stones' back line.
In a rare Maidstone attack, Hogg had two chances in quick succession but couldn't hit the target, and then Cray substitute Andy Silk picked his spot from 25 yards out and drove in a finely-struck goal after 86 minutes.
By now the game had taken on something of an exhibition flavour, with Stones sending on a substitute goalkeeper, and the two veterans Terry Cordice and Ian Jenkins also coming off the respective benches for the last few minutes.
Even so there was no disguising Cray's urgency to restart the game when Jenkins' close-range header made it 2-3 with a minute remaining, and there was no disguising the Stones' relief when Cray were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area a moment later, but Adam Heaslewood's chip-shot flew harmlessly over the bar.
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